Howard Reynolds House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 357 Maple Street, at the corner of George Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2016:

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This house is located in the small triangle between Maple, Pine, and George Streets. It was built around 1865 for George Reynolds, a landscaper and contractor who lived in the house next door at 355 Maple Street. Several generations of the Reynolds family lived here, starting with George’s son Howard. He worked for his father’s company, and lived in this house with his wife Martha and their son, George H. Reynolds.

After his father’s retirement, Howard took over the company, along with his brother-in-law Herbert A. Hastings. He lived in this house for the rest of his life, until his death in 1926. His son George carried on the family business, and also lived at this house, with his wife Edna and their daughter Madeline. They were still living here when the first photo was taken on the late 1930s, nearly 50 years after George had moved into the house as a teenager in the 1890s.

Today, the house stands as a reminder of the days when Maple Street was home to some of the city’s most prominent residents. It is a relatively modest home compared to many of the others on the street, but its Gothic-style architecture is somewhat unusual for homes in Springfield. The exterior remains well preserved from its appearance when the Reynolds family lived here, and the house is part of the Ames/Crescent Hill District on the National Register of Historic Places.

Julia Wrenn House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 421 Maple Street, at the corner of Mill Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2016:

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This house was built in 1887, and by 1908 it was owned by Julia Burke. That same year, she married George Wrenn, and the couple moved into this house. They were both in their late 30s at the time of their wedding, and neither had been previously married. Julia worked as a decorator, designing illustrations for boxes, while George worked in a cigar shop.

The Wrenns remained here for many years. They never had any children, although in the 1930 census George’s 21 year old niece was living here with them. George died sometime in the 1930s, but Julia was still living here when the first photo was taken. By 1940, the last available year for census data, she was 72, and was living here with her sister, Louise Birnie, who was also a widow.

Today, the house remains mostly unchanged from the days when Julia Wrenn lived here. The decorative woodwork at the top of the gables is gone, but otherwise it has retained its 19th century appearance. It is located at the end of Maple Street, and is part of the city’s Maple Hill Local Historic District.

Edward A. Clark House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 403 Maple Street, on the northeast corner of Smith Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2016:

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This house was built around the 1890s, and was the home of Edward A. Clark, his wife Georgia, and their son Saxton. Edward was a bookkeeper in a paper mill, and the family lived here until sometime in the 1910s. By 1920, newlyweds John and Harriet Shuart were living here, but in 1923 they moved their new house next door at 393 Maple Street. The house was subsequently owned by George A. Fox, who lived here with his wife Mildred. A longtime employee of Milton Bradley, George worked as the head of the company’s game department from 1917 until his death in 1946, and was still living here when this first photo was taken.

Along with the rest of the neighborhood, the house is now part of the city’s Maple Hill Local Historic District. Its exterior remains in good condition, and is well-preserved from the first photo. The only change is the porch on the second floor, which had been enclosed in the 1930s. However, the present-day appearance is probably its original design anyway, and better matches the first floor porch.

John D. Shuart House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 393 Maple Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2016:

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This home was one of many large Tudor Revival-style houses that were built on Maple Street in the early 20th century. Completed in 1923, it was the home of John D. Shuart, who was the assistant treasurer for the Springfield Glazed Paper Company. Shuart was born in 1894, and was the son of William H. Shuart, who was the president of the paper company. He attended Williams College. but left during his junior year to enter the Navy during World War I. In 1917, before heading overseas, he married Harriet A. Dickinson, the daughter of former Springfield mayor Henry S. Dickinson. After the war they lived in the house next door at 403 Maple Street for a few years before moving into this house in 1923.

During the time that he lived in this house, John served several terms on the city’s Board of Aldermen, and he was also involved in political and social organizations. However, by the time the first photo was taken, the house was for sale. A year or two later, in the 1940 census, the family had significantly downsized. Perhaps a result of the Great Depression, they were living in an apartment at 169 Maple Street by then. John was no longer working for his father’s paper company, and was instead the vice president of a vending machine company. He was by no means struggling, though, and the census lists his income as being $4,500, or nearly $80,000 in today’s dollars.

Some 80 years after the Shuarts moved out of here, the building is no longer a private residence, and is now owned by the Hampden Berkshire Tuberculosis & Respiratory Disease Association. The porch on the right side has been completely enclosed, and the front lawn was paved over to make a parking lot. However, most of the exterior retains its original appearance, and the house forms part of the city’s Maple Hill Local Historic District.

Charles B. Brown House, Springfield, Mass

The house at 385 Maple Street, at the corner of George Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2016:

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This house was built in 1895 for Charles B. Brown, a carriage manufacturer who had worked for Brockett & Tuttle of New Haven for many years before coming to Springfield to work for J.H. Rogers Carriage Company. He lived here with his wife Alice and their three children, but by 1910 this house had been sold to Mary Castle, an elderly widow who lived here with a servant until the 1920s. The next owner of the house was Franklin D. Neale, an attorney who lived here with his wife Orpha and their five children until at least 1940.

Architecturally, the house somewhat reflects a shift in house styles at the end of the 19th century. It includes a tower, which was practically an obligatory feature in Queen Anne-style houses of the era, yet it lacks the excessive ornamentation that was common for such houses. Instead, the rest of the house more closely resembles the much simpler American Foursquare design that was just coming into popularity at the time.

Today, the exterior of the house remains well-preserved from the first photo, which was taken back when the Neale family still lived here. It is one of many historic late 19th century homes along Maple Street, and serves as a reminder of the days when this neighborhood was one of the most desirable residential areas of the city. Along with the rest of the area, it is part of the city’s Maple Hill Local Historic District.

Merrick-Phelps House, Springfield, Mass

The Merrick-Phelps House at 83 Maple Street in Springfield, around 1938-1939. Image courtesy of the Springfield Preservation Trust.

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The house in 2017:

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This house at the corner of Maple and Union Streets was built in 1841 as the home of Solyman Merrick, a tool manufacturer who, six years earlier, had invented the monkey wrench. He sold his patent to Stephen C. Bemis, and had apparently made enough money off the sale to afford this elegant house. The same year he moved into this house, Merrick married Henrietta Bliss, and the couple lived here until her death, just three years later. In 1847, Merrick sold the house and had another new one built, this time nearly across the street at 104 Maple Street.

The second owner of this house was Ansel Phelps, an attorney who served as mayor from 1856 to 1858. He died in 1860, and for many years this section of Maple Street continued to be the home of some of the city’s most prominent residents. This house remained as a single-family home well into the 20th century, but gradually fell into decline along with the rest of the neighborhood, suffering from years of neglect.

By the early 2000s it was badly deteriorated. The interior had significant water damage, and the exterior porches and pillars were collapsing. However, it was purchased by DevelopSpringfield in 2013, and the organization restored the home to its original condition. The restoration was completed in 2016, with the interior being converted into offices. Along with this house, DevelopSpringfield is also working on restoring the adjacent 1832 Female Seminary, visible in the background of both photos. When complete, these two restored buildings, along with the carriage house of the Merrick-Phelps House, will form an office park of historic 19th century buildings.